Grief is the pain that heals other pain. So often trauma is at the root of addiction. A deeply painful experience wounds a soul, stunts brain development, creates all kinds of hurtful thoughts and feelings, and leaves the heart longing for something to take away the pain. Trauma can birth an addiction and along with it a pernicious twin. A lie enslaving countless lives – the pain of facing trauma is far worse than the pain of living with an addiction. The pain of trauma feels so terrifying we run from it at all costs.
Exposing and rejecting the lie about pain is one of the most important steps we take in recovery. The path of healing runs straight through the wounds. Facing trauma can feel like death, but on the other side of the grave is resurrection. Grief is the pain that heals other pain. From one perspective, recovery from addiction is frequently an extended grieving process.
The Chosen is the largest crowd-funded media project in history. This outside-of-Hollywood multi-season streaming show tells the stories of Jesus and his first followers. The writing, acting, and production quality are as impressive as shows on Netflix or Hulu. The first episode of season one focuses on Mary Magdalene. In the show, Mary loses her father at an early age, has signs of mental illness in her formative years, and is brutalized by a Roman soldier. She takes the name Lilith and descends into the deep brokenness alluded to in the Gospels.
Mary’s father gave her a doll with a small parchment hidden inside with the words of Isaiah 43:1. After a particularly harrowing experience, Mary tears up the parchment, gives the doll away, and contemplates suicide. She is trapped in her pain, and she sees no way out. In this moment, she meets Jesus, who calls her by her real name and recites Isaiah 43:1 to her. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” Mary falls into Jesus’ arms, and the healing journey begins.
Jesus sees the true Mary. Jesus looks through her addicted self, through her wounded self, to her real self. He loves her and treats her as who she truly is, and her real self begins to bloom. As the show develops, we see Mary’s healing journey unfold through self-doubt, relapse, fear and shame, and into beauty. Mary slowly rejects the lie that facing her pain will be too much. She faces it, grieves, and comes out the other side into life.
At Starlight at Tamassee, we believe the pain of grieving in a loving, supportive community will heal the pain of trauma and addiction. We believe mothers and children can become their true selves. To learn more about Starlight, visit starlight.tdarschool.org, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 864-944-1390. If your church or civic group is interested in a presentation on recovery, contact Jon Holland at email@example.com.